Alaska musk ox deaths blamed on mineral deficiency

Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FAIRBANKS - Musk oxen deaths among the herd researchers keep at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been blamed on a trace mineral deficiency.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that nine oxen have died at the university's Large Animal Research Station after a school veterinarian euthanized two older bulls that never recovered from the suspected deficiency.

Veterinarian John Blake said all the animals were underweight and lacking in cobalt, copper and selenium - essential for the animals.

The deaths of nine of the school's 36 musk oxen represent the biggest die-off since the herd was established in 1979.

The condition of the remaining 25 animals in the herd is improving with mineral supplements and vitamin injections.

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